Czech carmaker Skoda Auto has been named as the best Czech company in 2007 by the Czech Top 100 association. It is the second year in a row the company has won the annual competition, which is decided by the votes of managers and economic analysts in the Czech Republic. Power giant CEZ and drug manufacturer Zentiva came in second and third place respectively. In the same competition, the leading Czech soft-drinks producer Kofola appeared among the top ten Czech companies for the first time.
In what has been a good week for the Czech car manufacturer, Skoda's Octavia model has also just been voted the best car in Britain by the readers of the prestigious Auto Express magazine.
The Czech Republic has come second in a survey of how easy it is to do business in the four Visegrad countries. In the study conducted by Ernst and Young, the Czech Republic fared slightly better than Poland and Hungary, but all three lagged far behind the Slovak "tiger" economy. The survey found that the main obstacles to doing business in the Czech Republic are the complex tax system, social and political environment and employment legislation. The study also found that most entrepreneurs operating in the Czech Republic thought that state interference in the economy was too high.
Prices for houses and apartments in the Czech Republic have risen sharply according to Mlada fronta Dnes. The newspaper reports that property prices have increased by more than ten percent in many large Czech towns and cities, with prices for apartments in Prague increasing by as much as one third. Some of the factors which the daily attributes the price increases to included easily available mortgages and foreign property speculators. Demand for housing has also increased because the generation of 1970s Czech baby boomers - known as "Husakovi deti" or Husak's children after the then communist president of Czechoslovakia -are now looking for flats because they are getting married and having children.
Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Martin Riman dismissed the head of the country's inward investment agency CzechInvest on Friday. Mr Riman dismissed the general manager of CzechInvest Tomas Hruda for what he described as "serious systemic and organisational deficiencies" in the agency, which were discovered in the course of an audit by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Reports say that a number of discrepancies were found at the agency with regard to the awarding of public tenders.
American coffee giant Starbucks could soon be coming to the Czech Republic. A number of Czech newspapers reported on Friday that the café chain has signed a preliminary cooperation agreement with the AmRest catering company, which runs the KFC and Pizza Hut fast-food outlets, to open branches of Starbucks in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. AmRest did not reveal exactly when Starbucks would begin operations in this country. The coffee vendor has some thirteen thousand cafés around the world.
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